William von Eggers Doering

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William von Eggers Doering
Born (1917-06-22)June 22, 1917
Fort Worth, Texas
Died January 3, 2011(2011-01-03) (aged 93)
Waltham, Massachusetts
Residence United States
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Known for Synthesis of quinine with Woodward, contributions to physical organic chemistry

ACS Award in Pure Chemistry (1953)
James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry (1989)

Welch Award (1990)
Scientific career
Fields Organic chemistry
Institutions Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University
Doctoral advisor Sir Reginald Patrick Linstead[citation needed]
Doctoral students Kenneth Wiberg, Andrew Streitwieser, Maitland Jones, Jr., Charles DePuy

William von Eggers Doering (June 22, 1917 – January 3, 2011)[1] was a Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and the former Chair of its Chemistry Department. Prior to joining the Faculty at Harvard, he was a member of the Chemistry Faculties of Columbia University (1942–1952) and Yale (1952–1968).

He is known in the field of organic chemistry for his work on quinine total synthesis with Robert Burns Woodward.[2] Having published his first scientific paper in 1939 and his last in 2008, he holds the rare distinction of having authored scholarly articles in eight different decades. In 1989, he received the "James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry" of the American Chemical Society and in 1990 the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry.[3]

Some of his major contributions include recognition of the aromatic nature of the tropylium cation, investigation of the stereochemistry of the Cope rearrangement, and pioneering work in carbene chemistry, including the discovery of dichlorocarbene. Some other notable work include the synthesis of fulvalene, the discoveries of the Doering-LaFlamme allene synthesis and the Parikh-Doering oxidation, prediction of the existence of bullvalene as a fluxional molecule, and elucidation of the mechanism of the Baeyer–Villiger oxidation.[4] He also first articulated the modern form of the 4n + 2 rule for aromaticity (Hückel's rule)[5] and coined the term "carbene" along with Woodward and Winstein during a nocturnal cab ride in Chicago.[6]


  1. ^ Chemistrviews obituary retrieved 22nd April 2011
  2. ^ Daintith, p. 968.
  3. ^ James Flack Norris Award in Physical Organic Chemistry, American Chemical Society
  4. ^ Klärner, F.-G. (2011), William von Eggers Doering (1917–2011). Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 50: 2885–2886. doi:10.1002/anie.201100453 10.1002/anie.201100453
  5. ^ Doering, W. v. E. (September 1951) Abstracts of the American Chemical Society Meeting, New York, 24M.
  6. ^ Nickon, Alex; Silversmith, Ernest F. (2013). Organic Chemistry: The Name Game: Modern Coined Terms and Their Origins. New York: Elsevier. p. 154. ISBN 1483145239. 


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